Nigeria announce their squad for Bafana showdown in Johannesburg
Former captain John Obi Mikel has again been left out of Nigeria’s squad‚ signaling the potential end of his international career as coach Gernot Rohr unveiled 23 players to face South Africa in Johannesburg in just under three weeks.
Obi Mikel‚ formerly with Chelsea and now playing his club football in China‚ also missed last month’s two matches against Libya in the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifying campaign and is again ignored by the coach‚ seemingly wanting to freshen up the squad since the World Cup finals in Russia.
With Victor Moses having called a premature halt to his international career and Wilfred Ndidi suspended for the Group E qualifier at Soccer City on November 17‚ Nigeria are missing three key elements as they get ready to face South Africa in a match in which either side‚ if they win‚ will book their place at the finals in Cameroon next June.
The 23-man squad named by Rohr is spearheaded by Odion Ighalo‚ who scored five goals in this month’s two qualifiers against Libya‚ which the Super Eagles won 4-0 at home and 3-2 away to go top of the standings‚ and includes four players from the English Premier League‚ as well as Chippa United goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
Rohr also handed a first call-up to Samuel Chukwueze‚ the 19-year-old striker who recently made his debut for La Liga side Villarreal as well as handed a recall to Victor Osimhen‚ who has scored six goals in six games for Charleroi in Belgium‚ but has not been capped since June last year.
Defender Adeleye Aniyikaye from IfeanyiUbah is one of just two home-based players in the squad and also a surprise.
But Aniyikaye is seen as one for the future and likely only to play after the match against Bafana when Nigeria take on Uganda in a friendly on November 20.
Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor‚ Turkey) and Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor‚ Turkey) are out through injury while Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto‚ Portugal) and Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray‚ Turkey) were dropped.
Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United‚ South Africa)‚ Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba)‚ Francis Uzoho (Elche‚ Spain)
Ola Aina (Torino‚ Italy)‚ Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United‚ England)‚ Adeleye Aniyikaye (IfenayiUbah)‚ Leon Balogun (Brighton and Hove Albion‚ England)‚ Jamilu Collins (Paderborn‚ Germany)‚ William Ekong Troost (Udinese‚ Italy)‚ Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow‚ Russia)‚ Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes‚ Spain)
Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal‚ Portugal)‚ Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City‚ England)‚ John Ogu (Hapoel Be'er Sheva‚ Israel)
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal‚ Spain)‚ Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai‚ China)‚ Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City‚ England)‚ Alex Iwobi (Arsenal‚ England)‚ Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux‚ France)‚ Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr‚ Saudi Arabia)‚ Victor Osimhen (Charleroi‚ Belgium)‚ Moses Simon (Levante‚ Spain)‚ Isaac Success (Watford‚ England)